ESPN has been undergoing a few changes of late. For example, we recently learned that ESPN College Extra is due to shut down later this month. Even more recently, ESPN confirmed that it plans to launch a new ESPN BET sportsbook later this year in partnership with PENN Entertainment.
Prior to both of these changes, the ESPN Plus subscriber base stood at 25.2 million, as of July 1, according to the latest figures from Disney. Overall, this represents a decrease of 100,000, when compared to the 25.3 million reported at the end of the first calendar quarter of the year.
In spite of the loss, the 25.2 million does mark an increase of around 2.4 million when compared to the 22.8 million ESPN Plus subscribers reported at the end of Q2 2022.
Considering ESPN Plus saw an increase during the first calendar quarter of the year, the sports-focused streaming service has gained around 300,000 subscribers this year so far.
At the end of 2022, ESPN Plus had 24.9 million subscribers, up from the 21.3 million reported at the end of 2021.
One of the interesting ESPN-related stories that’s been continually circulating over the past couple of months is the suggestion that the linear ESPN channel might become available as a direct-to-consumer service, removing the need for a live TV package to access ESPN.
When such an option is likely to become avaialble still remains unclear, but considering the cost of live sports, it seems likely that a direct-to-consumer ESPN service will be offered as a more expensive alternative to the existing ESPN Plus service.